October 14th, 2019
Thoughts on The Great 8k, Matteson Community Center's Inaugural Race
Saturday June 30th, 2012
Elsewhere on this website are tons of pictures with (it seems to me) EVERYBODY SMILING, and those are all candid photos! Many of them, of course, I took myself, but that doesn't matter--because I couldn't see! The super-bright sun was glaring all over my (actually Bill's) digital camera, totally preventing me from focusing on anything whatsoever. So, you know, I mostly just "aimed and shot"--blindly!
So if everyone's grinning in the pictures, they must've been smiling throughout the race, which is what I kind of figured. Hey, it really was a "Great 8k." :-)
And so many children! Wow! I don't believe I've seen a race longer than one-quarter mile with so many kids running the thing. I mean, little ones of 9-and-under (and 9-and-over!) actually endured a distance of nearly FIVE MILES! Absolutely wonderful!! When I was 9, probably, the biggest distance I could handle was diagonals across the playpen. :-|
Part of the credit for so many Great 8 (year olds?) showing up and running must go to Mr. Bernard Lyles (18th place finisher overall!), who has organized a Southside triathlon club for kids for as long as I can remember. I first knew of this back in my Chicago Area Runners Association days, as I think CARA gave Bernard several awards over the years thanking him for his service. And amen to that! Anyone who can actually gets kids active--and away from television and playstations and whatnot--certainly deserves our entire community's collective thanks. And I think that thanks was best expressed on the faces of the kids themselves. And you should've seen them "kick it in" at the finish! Wow! Hopefully some of the photos will show that.
Triathlon? Hey, it just so happens that a lagoon is on the Matteson Community Center's property, and so I thought all the children would be crossing the finish line and jumping in for a swim! No, huh? Probably their "contract" didn't call for swimming, just running. ;-) Don't laugh. One fine day some of these very children WILL be signing contracts...for all kinds of professional sports! And just think: they might have gotten their start right here in Matteson on a bright sunny morning at the end of June, in that historic year of 2012.
It was history, after all, right? This was the very first running of MCC's The Great 8k, and I and my friend Bill were only too glad to be a part of it.
Congratulations to the "flying" young man and the "zooming" young woman who won (check the Results) and to all the others who won "hardware" in their age groups. Also congratulations to all the many, many others who made it to the finish line on such a *HOT* morning; and finally, of course, congratulations to all the children and to their families who have so obviously encouraged them. We need more just like you!
Lastly, our thanks go out to Race Director Katie and to all the volunteers and Village officials who helped to make this Great Day happen in the first place. Thanks to you all, and we hope to see you next year!
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